Jervis Bay: Fresh tragedy as an entire FAMILY of blue gropers are slaughtered by spearfishermen after ‘Gus the Groper’ kill saga: ‘So sad and so angry’


A spear fisher has sparked new outrage after illegally killing a family of blue gropers, just days after fury erupted over the death of a fish feared to be Gus The Groper in Sydney.

Photographs on social media have revealed NSW fisheries officers intercepting a spear fisherman with three dead gropers at Plantation Point, Jervis Bay, on the NSW south coast.

The haul included a female groper, which are brown, and two juveniles. All blue gropers start off female and some can transition later in life to become a blue male.

Spear fishing for blue gropers is outlawed in NSW because their friendly nature makes them an easy target, but anglers are still allowed to catch up to two a day.

Woebegone Freedive posted pictures on Facebook on Tuesday of the three fish which were discovered by the fishery protection officers on Friday.

‘Devastating news from Jervis Bay: A family of blue gropers, an iconic and protected species, has been illegally speared,’ said the post.

Woebegone Freedive posted pictures on Facebook on Tuesday of the three fish which were discovered by the fishery protection officers (pictured)
Woebegone Freedive posted pictures on Facebook on Tuesday of the three fish which were discovered by the fishery protection officers (pictured)

‘After a fantastic beach dive with an amazing group, enjoying time with bull rays and dolphins, our joy turned to dismay as we came back to witness this horrific event.

‘These friendly ‘Labradors of the sea’ are a vital part of our ecosystem and beloved by many.

‘Just days after losing Gus the groper in Sydney, we’re reminded again of the urgent need for better protection and education.

‘Well done to the local fisheries crew for their diligent work in searching this individual’s catch, and for the fines and gear confiscation.

‘Great job in safeguarding our marine life.’

The NSW Department of Primary Industries confirmed the horrific haul to Daily Mail Australia.

Pictures from the scene showed fisheries officers interviewing a heavily-tattooed man in wetsuit leggings, a singlet and thongs next to an SUV in the waterside car park.

Spearfishing equipment can be seen on the ground in front of him. Another picture shows thre three fish laid out next to a spear gun harpoon.

‘Fisheries Officers responded to a report made on the Fishers Watch Phoneline of groper being illegally speared by a spear fisherman,’ a DPI spokesman said.

‘A spearfisherman was apprehended at the scene by Fisheries Officers in possession of three female groper.

‘Fisheries Officers have interviewed the person of interest and seized the groper and all fishing gear.

‘The matter is under investigation and appropriate compliance action will be undertaken.’

The spokesman added: ‘Plantation Point is part of the Jervis Bay Marine Park and is a habitat protection zone that allows spearfishing to occur.

‘Groper can only legally be taken by line in NSW. For recreational fishers, this means a minimum size limit of 30cm and a bag limit of two (with only one fish over 60cm).

‘Fishers and spear fishers must make themselves aware of the rules regarding their activities before they undertake any fishing or spearfishing.’

The incident follows the tragic death of what was feared to be beloved local fish Gus the Groper at Oak Park beach at Cronulla in Sydney's south
The incident follows the tragic death of what was feared to be beloved local fish Gus the Groper at Oak Park beach at Cronulla in Sydney’s south
Wildlife documentary maker David Ireland, 76 (pictured with Gus) - who first tamed and named the beloved giant fish in the 1980s - says the fish illegally killed in Cronulla was not Gus
Wildlife documentary maker David Ireland, 76 (pictured with Gus) – who first tamed and named the beloved giant fish in the 1980s – says the fish illegally killed in Cronulla was not Gus

The incident follows the tragic death of what was feared to be beloved local fish Gus the Groper at Oak Park beach at Cronulla in Sydney’s south.

Locals feared Gus had been killed when a spearfisherman was seen carrying a dead blue groper out of the water on December 30 at Oak Park Beach, where Gus lived on a nearby reef.

The fisherman, believed to be a New Zealander, was later fined $500 by police, and a further $300 by the NSW Department of Primary Industries on Friday, for spearing the protected species.

The incident took a twist on Tuesday when wildlife documentary maker David Ireland, 76 – who first tamed and named the beloved giant fish in the 1980s – said the fish illegally killed in Cronulla was not Gus.

He said Gus was much larger than the fish pictured with the spear fisherman, and also had a tell-tale scar near his tail where he was previously speared years earlier but had survived.

This article by Kevin Airs was first published by The Daily Mail on 9 January 2024. Lead Image: A spear fisher has sparked new outrage after illegally killing a family of blue gropers (pictured), just days after fury erupted over the death of a fish feared to be Gus The Groper in Sydney.

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